When complex projects go wrong they can go horribly wrong with severe financial consequences. We are undertaking research to develop leading performance indicators for complex projects, metrics to provide early warning of potential difficulties. The assessment of success of complex projects can be made by a range of stakeholders over different time scales, against different levels of project results: the project’s outputs at the end of the project; the project’s outcomes in the months following project completion; and the project’s impact in the years following completion. We aim to identify leading performance indicators, which may include both success criteria and success factors, and which can be measured by the project team during project delivery to forecast success as assessed by key stakeholders in the days, months and years following the project. The hope is the leading performance indicators will act as alarm bells to show if a project is diverting from plan so early corrective action can be taken. It may be that different combinations of the leading performance indicators will be appropriate depending on the nature of project complexity. In this paper we develop a new model of project success, whereby success is assessed by different stakeholders over different time frames against different levels of project results. We then relate this to measurements that can be taken during project delivery. A methodology is described to evaluate the early parts of this model. Its implications and limitations are described. This paper describes work in progress
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